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By voting to extend term limits, City Councilmember Lew Fidler ignored the wishes of his constituents, according to angry Marine Park residents.
“We did elect Lew Fidler. He’s supposed to be our voice,” said Sean Jennings of East 37th Street. “He should vote on what we think.”
Fidler came under fire for his position on the controversial measure at last week’s Marine Park Civic Association meeting, held at P.S. 207 on Fillmore Avenue.
“The fact that 600,000 people said we don’t want term limits doesn’t mean anything to you?” questioned Kimball Street resident Sean Toner.
“I represent 156,000 people,” Fidler countered. “I don’t govern by poll. I’m telling you what I feel and why I think this is the best policy for good government.”
“Term limits are bad government,” Fidler added. “The speaker of our body is either a freshman or a lame duck.”
Residents complained that the term limit extension was approved without a vote from the public.
“It should be our right to vote,” Jennings said.
The City Council voted against allowing a public referendum on term limits.
“You will have an opportunity in the next election to vote for or against Mike Bloomberg or for or against Lew Fidler,” Fidler said. “You do have a choice. You’ll have a choice next November.”
But locals argued that Fidler will remain the Democratic Party’s candidate, thereby preventing a new candidate from being selected.
“You’re a Democrat. No one’s going to vote for the other side. It’s a fixed election,” Toner asserted.
“It’s self-serving,” Jennings said. “He wants to keep his job.”
Fidler acknowledged that the way in which the term limit battle began was flawed.
“I find the way that the mayor brought this up to be distasteful at the very least,” Fidler said.
State Assemblymember Alan Maisel said he opposes term limits but, “You cannot forget that Mayor Bloomberg is shoving this down everyone’s throat.”
Fidler seemed against any citywide discussion on term limits, especially since it has taken over news broadcasts and received countless front page headlines.
“We have spent the last three to four weeks doing nothing, doing nothing but debating this issue,” he said of the City Council. “The economic mess that we find our city in – that’s what we should be focusing on. Not this.”
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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